Howell atones for fielding miscue with walk-off HR

It didn’t take long for Daniel Howell to find redemption on a scorching Thursday afternoon at Pershing Park as SBCC overcame a bizarre fielding play to edge Moorpark 3-2 in a WSC North baseball game.
Santa Barbara was poised to cap a 2-0 victory when Tyler Yuckert sent a high flyball toward Howell at first base. The bases were full of Raiders and there were two outs in the top of the ninth.

Howell called for the ball, then backed up and glanced over at second baseman Joey Gonzalez, who was rushing toward him. The ball landed between them for a stunning single that scored two runs and tied the game.

Howell led off the bottom of the ninth and boomed a walk-off homer to left on a 1-2 count off Tyler Karp, a starting pitcher who had just entered the game.

“I knew I was coming up first and I had just messed up big-time,” said Howell, who has five homers, the second-highest total in California. “I was just trying to hit a single, just trying to get on base. I battled him through two strikes (and two foul balls) and he missed with a pitch up. I just put a good swing on it.

“I wasn’t too happy about that play in the field. I should have caught the ball, no excuses. It did land behind me but I called for it early and ended up losing it. I should have caught it.”

Sophomore left-hander Chris Joyce turned in a solid performance for the Vaqueros (12-12, 6-4), striking out 15 in seven innings. He shut out the Raiders (9-13, 4-5) on five hits with three walks and two hit batters.

Joyce, a Dos Pueblos High product who had 16 strikeouts earlier this year, fanned the side in four innings. He got the Nos. 3 and 4 batters three times each.

“My fastball was working and my curveball got me out of some jams,” said Joyce. “My slider and fastball were my putaway pitches.”

Reliever Anthony Perry stuck out the side in the eighth and added another in the ninth for a total of 19 strikeouts by two Vaquero pitchers.

“Chris struck out a lot of guys but that was, by far, his worst outing of the year in terms of his crispness,” said coach Ryan Thompson. “He wasn’t locating his pitches like he has in the past. But you know he‘s always going to compete.”

Perry allowed a leadoff single in the ninth, then got two outs on a liner to center and a strikeout looking. He walked Dustin Kahle and Austin Moscorro singled to load the bases. Yuckert then hit the fateful pop fly that landed about 10 feet wide of first base and tied the game at 2.

“You can get ticked off all you want but you need to be able to turn the page,” said Thompson. “If you try to play angry, it doesn’t work. Michael Jordan is probably the only one who’s done that on a routine basis.

“The most important lesson we learned was to turn the page and go to the next play.”

Howell had two of his team’s six hits.

SBCC got an unearned run in the first inning when Robert Vickers singled, went to second on an errant pickoff and scored when the shortstop threw wildly past third base.

It remained 1-0 until the eighth. Cody Giordano reached on an infield single, stole second and scored on Pat Cavalier’s single to center to make it 2-0.

SBCC travels to Moorpark on Saturday for a 1 p.m. game.

Moorpark …….. 000 000 002 — 2  8  2

SBCC ……….… 100 000 011 — 3  6  0
No outs when winning run scored.
Coats, Hawes (8), Karp (9) and Travnick; Joyce, Perry (8) and White, Trevino (8). W–Perry 1-1. L–Karp 1-4.
2B–M: Kahle. HR–SB: Howell (5), 9th inn., none on.